City opens Camp Hope to shelter the homeless

The Coronavirus outbreak has triggered an influx of homeless individuals in the Salisbury community, so city leaders have established an outdoor camping area to house the people in need.

“We have asked all people to stay in their homes,” said Mayor Jake Day, “but the homeless have no place to shelter in place.”

Named Camp Hope, 24 tents have been erected at the Lake Street Playground in the city’s West Side. There is space and sleeping bags to accommodate 26 people.

Only single adults over the age of 18 are eligible; families in need of shelter are being directed to other housing options, such as hotels.

To prevent any possible spread, local shelters are not accepting new admissions.

The city is providing meals and medical supplies, but is also relying on private donations.

“The fear that I have is that if Covid-19 gets into the homeless population, it will spread due to limited access to sanitation, due to clustering around food options and food delivery sites,” Day said.

“A solution is to institute some kind of controlled environment for a population that, frankly, doesn’t like control very much,” he said.

Day said Covid-19 is changing the pattern of homelessness in the community, with an increase in unsheltered persons coming to Salisbury in search of services.

The Rev. Lewis N. Watson of First Baptist Church, which is next to the playground, said the community supports the effort to help.

“We know what it is to reach out to the less fortunate,” he said. “That’s who we are.”

The mayor thanked the volunteers and city employees who have been working at the cap, as well as several local businesses who have provided assistance.

He said donors had provided the tents, Peninsula Roofing had donated 400 masks and Beyond Your Walls had provided a shower trailer. He also saluted Holt Paper and Olde Town Cafe and the First Baptist Church.

“We’ve got a heart for our homeless friends and neighbors,” Day said.

Volunteers and supplies are needed. To help in the effort, contact Christine Chestnutt at

Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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